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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Storm Damages Research Crops at Clovis Agricultural Science Center

LAS CRUCES -- The cotton turned black. The corn turned white. The green beans are gone, and the forage sorghum is in shreds.

A Labor Day weekend storm with 80 mile-per-hour winds, hail and flooding swept away a season's worth of data when it damaged numerous research plots at New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Clovis. The center is located 13 miles north of Clovis.

"On Friday night and early Saturday morning, we had a pretty bad storm come through here," said Darrell Baker, the center's superintendent. "It uprooted trees, tore down telephone poles, and left two and a half inches of rain."

Five research professionals from NMSU and one from Texas suffered research project losses on 40 to 50 acres of land.

Damaged projects included a corn study involving insects and a forage sorghum test comparing compost and manure to fertilizer. The storm also damaged corn, sorghum, and green bean variety trials.

"The only things we can salvage are the corn and sorghum variety tests," Baker said. "We'll harvest them. We won't have much data or yields, but we'll see which varieties survived the hail the best. We'll get what we can out of it."

Baker said all was not lost because at the time of the storm two projects had already been completed -- potato and wheat variety trials.

Also, the center's chile, peanut and turf grass research plots located five miles south of Clovis were not hit by the storm.

As Baker and the other researchers at the center continue to assess the damage, they're looking forward to putting the storm behind them and planting the fall season's research plots with alfalfa, wheat and spinach.